(RAPID CITY, SD) – Mikhail Stefanovich brought his club even in the waning moments of the opening period, but it was Lindsay Sparks who saved the day for his club as the Rapid City Rush defeated the Idaho Steelheads by a 2-1 score on Friday night in the Rush’s first-ever “Super-Hero Night”
Idaho struck first in the game in a bizarre fashion to take the first lead between the West Division foes. With 12:55 gone by in the game, Joe Basaraba took the puck from the near corner of the Rush zone, turned up to the Rush near faceoff circle and fired off a sharp-angle shot. The shot was barely tucked under the top part of the net, with no goal light, but a goal signal from the officiating crew, and after conferencing amongst themselves, determined that Basaraba did score on Rush net-minder, Danny Battochio, giving the Steelheads a 1-0 lead (the goal was unassisted). With 54 seconds left in the frame, however, the Rush fired back and evened things up heading into the intermission. Zach Luczyk, making his professional debut, hit Mikhail Stefanovich with a pass coming into the Idaho zone, followed by Stefanovich sniping over the shoulder of Steelheads goaltender Branden Komm to square things up at 1-1 (Luczyk recorded his first pro point with the assist).
Both teams skated to a scoreless draw in the second period, keeping the game evened at one while also adding that much more importance to the final 20 minutes of play. Eventually, the deadlock was broken thanks to a sacrificial block by Ryan Walters. With 13:29 left in the game, Walters blocked a Shawn Boutin shot and subsequently sprung Lindsay Sparks on a breakaway. Sparks went fore-hand-back-hand shelf over Komm to put the Rush up 2-1 with his 11th goal of the season and fifth in a Rush uniform (Walters garnered the lone helper). With less than a minute to play, Komm was pulled from the Idaho net for an extra-attacker, but the six-on-five advantage did not help the Steelheads even the game up, resulting in a 2-1 Rush win.
Danny “Batman” Battochio played like the hero he is colloquially referred to as, stopping all but one shot out of the 31 he faced (18-16-3).
Both teams rematch tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. MST at Premier Home Mortgage Ice in Rushmore Plaza Civic Center.
Other Rush News:
Join Rush Nation for only $10 per game! Call the Rush office at 716-7825 for details, and stay informed on all Rush happenings this season through the official Rapid City Rush team website, www.RapidCityRush.com, and the Rapid City Rush mobile app, available on iTunes and Google Play.